Demographics of Brussels

The demographics of Brussels are monitored by Statistics Belgium. Brussels population is currently 1,222,657 as of 2022.[1]

Demographics of Brussels
Brussels Capital Region in 2022 Population pyramid.svg
Population pyramid of Brussels in 2022
Population1,222,657 (2022)
Growth rate0.22% (2021)
Fertility rate1.7 children per woman (2019)


Population of Belgium overall in provinces in 2017

The current population of Brussels (officially the Brussels Capital Region) in 2022 was 1,222,637[1] In recent years, the city has received a markable increase in its population. In general, the population of Brussels is younger than the national average, and the gap between rich and poor is wider.

Growth rateEdit

The population growth rate within Brussels for 2021 was 0.22%.[1]


Population density in Belgium as a whole

The density of Brussels is also high, Brussels is one of the most urbanised areas of Europe.

Life expectancyEdit

The life expectancy is Brussels is 79.61 years of age in 2020.[2]

Life expectancy in Brussels[2] Years
1996 2000 2005 2010 2015 2019 2020
Total 77.46 77.94 79.04 79.7 80.86 81.59 79.61
Men 73.96 74.62 75.99 76.92 78.11 79.08 76.93
Women 80.54 80.89 81.76 82.73 83.36 83.86 82.19


The total fertility rate within Brussels in 2019 is 1.7 children per woman.[3]

Total fertility rate within Brussels Year[3]
1971 1976 1981 1986 1991 1996 2001 2006 2011 2016 2019
1.98 1.66 1.71 1.76 1.8 1.79 2.03 2.11 1.96 1.82 1.7

The total number of births in Brussels is declining.

Total number of births in Brussels[3] Year
2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Births 17,709 17,377 16,854 15,847 15,690

Age of first birth and childbearingEdit

The average age of which a mother gives birth has been consistently rising since figures go back to 1998

Age of motherhood[3] Year
1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016 2018 2019
First birth 26.8 28 28 28.4 28.6 28.7 29.1 29.2 29.8 30.1 30.2 30.5
Average age of childbearing overall 29.5 29.7 29.7 30 30.2 30.5 30.7 31 31.4 31.6 31.9 32.1


Population pyramid of Belgium in 2022

The average age of Brussels is much lower than on average the rest of Belgium.

Brussels[1] 2022
Less the 18 years 18 to 64 65 years or more
Population 273,645 788,876 160,116


Languages spoken at home in the Brussels-Capital Region (2013)[4]
  Dutch and French
  French and other language
  Neither Dutch nor French

Today, the Brussels-Capital Region is legally bilingual, with both French and Dutch having official status,[5] as is the administration of the 19 municipalities.[6]

Owing to migration and to its international role, Brussels is home to a large number of native speakers of languages other than French or Dutch. Currently, about half of the population speaks a home language other than these two.[7] In 2013, academic research showed that approximately 17% of families spoke none of the official languages in the home, while in a further 23% a foreign language was used alongside French. The share of unilingual French-speaking families had fallen to 38% and that of Dutch-speaking families to 5%, while the percentage of bilingual Dutch-French families reached 17%. At the same time, French remains widely spoken: in 2013, French was spoken "well to perfectly" by 88% of the population, while for Dutch this percentage was only 23% (down from 33% in 2000);[6] the other most commonly known languages were English (30%), Arabic (18%), Spanish (9%), German (7%) and Italian and Turkish (5% each).[4] Despite the rise of English as a second language in Brussels, including as an unofficial compromise language between French and Dutch, as well as the working language for some of its international businesses and institutions, French remains the lingua franca and all public services are conducted exclusively in French or Dutch.


Religions in the Brussels-Capital Region (2016)[8]

  Islam (23%)
  Protestantism (3%)
  Other religions (4%)
  Non-religious (30%)

Historically, Brussels has been predominantly Roman Catholic, especially since the expulsion of Protestants in the 16th century. This is clear from the large number of historical churches in the region, particularly in the City of Brussels. The pre-eminent Catholic cathedral in Brussels is the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula, serving as the co-cathedral of the Archdiocese of Mechelen–Brussels. On the north-western side of the region, the National Basilica of the Sacred Heart is a Minor Basilica and parish church, as well as the 14th largest church building in the world. The Church of Our Lady of Laeken holds the tombs of many members of the Belgian Royal Family, including all the former Belgian monarchs, within the Royal Crypt.

In reflection of its multicultural makeup, Brussels hosts a variety of religious communities, as well as large numbers of atheists and agnostics. Minority faiths include Islam, Anglicanism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Judaism, and Buddhism. According to a 2016 survey, approximately 40% of residents of Brussels declared themselves Catholics (12% were practising Catholics and 28% were non-practising Catholics), 30% were non-religious, 23% were Muslim (19% practising, 4% non-practising), 3% were Protestants and 4% were of another religion.[8]

As guaranteed by Belgian law, recognised religions and non-religious philosophical organisations (French: organisations laïques, Dutch: vrijzinnige levensbeschouwelijke organisaties)[9] enjoy public funding and school courses. It was once the case that every pupil in an official school from 6 years old to 18 had to choose 2 hours per week of compulsory religious—or non-religious-inspired morals—courses. However, in 2015, the Belgian Constitutional court ruled religious studies could no longer be required in the primary and secondary educational systems.[10]

The Great Mosque of Brussels is the seat of the Islamic and Cultural Centre of Belgium.

Brussels has a large concentration of Muslims, mostly of Moroccan, Turkish, Syrian and Guinean ancestry. The Great Mosque of Brussels, located in the Parc du Cinquantenaire/Jubelpark, is the oldest mosque in Brussels. Belgium does not collect statistics by ethnic background or religious beliefs, so exact figures are unknown. It was estimated that, in 2005, people of Muslim background living in the Brussels Region numbered 256,220 and accounted for 25.5% of the city's population, a much higher concentration than those of the other regions of Belgium.[11]


Belgians of Belgian origin by percentage in the Brussels-Capital Region

Belgium does not collect ethnic data of its citizens but does have a unique classification on the status of where its citizens originate from. This classification is not based on the place of birth, but takes into account previous nationalities of the person and of their parents.[12]

In 2021, only 25% of the residents of Brussels were of Belgian origin (i.e., the resident had no previous nationality other than Belgian and both of their parents have the Belgian nationality as first nationality), and 75% were of overall foreign origin. Of these foreign origin residents, 41.8% were of non-European origin and 28.7% were of African origin.[12]

Among those aged under 18, 88% were of foreign origin and 57% of non-European origin (including 42.4% of African origin).[12]


  1. ^ a b c d "Structure of the Population | Statbel". Retrieved 2022-07-11.
  2. ^ a b "Life expectancy and life tables | Statbel". Retrieved 2022-07-11.
  3. ^ a b c d "Births and fertility | Statbel". Retrieved 2022-07-11.
  4. ^ a b Janssens, Rudi (2013). BRIO-taalbarometer 3: diversiteit als norm [BRIO language barometer 3: diversity as standard] (PDF) (in Dutch). Brussels Informatie-, Documentatie- en Onderzoekscentrum. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 October 2018. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  5. ^ "La Constitution belge (Art. 4)" (in French). the Belgian Senate. May 2007. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 2009-01-18. La Belgique comprend quatre régions linguistiques : la région de langue française, la région de langue néerlandaise, la région bilingue de Bruxelles-Capitale et la région de langue allemande..
  6. ^ a b Janssens, Rudi (2008). "Language use in Brussels and the position of Dutch". Brussels Studies. Brussels Studies [Online]. doi:10.4000/brussels.520. Archived from the original on 17 July 2018. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  7. ^ "Van autochtoon naar allochtoon". De Standaard (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 2 August 2020. Retrieved 5 May 2007. Meer dan de helft van de Brusselse bevolking is van vreemde afkomst. In 1961 was dat slechts 7 procent. [More than half of the Brussels' population is of foreign origin. In 1961 this was only 7 percent.]
  8. ^ a b Elodie Blogie (28 January 2016). "75% des francophones revendiquent une identité religieuse". Le (in French). Archived from the original on 31 January 2016. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  9. ^ "Religious Freedom in Belgium". Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. Georgetown University. Archived from the original on 21 June 2015. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  10. ^ Andy Furniere (13 March 2015). "Lessons in religion no longer obligatory in Belgium". Flanders Today. Archived from the original on 2 June 2017. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  11. ^ "Bericht uit het Gewisse" [Message from the Gewisse]. (in Dutch). 11 September 2008. Archived from the original on 21 November 2010. Retrieved 9 October 2010. In België wonen 628.751 moslims(Berekend aantal), 6,0% van de bevolking. In Brussel is dit 25,5%, in Wallonië 4,0%, in Vlaanderen 3,9% [In Belgium there are 628,751 Muslims (Calculated number), 6.0% of the population. In Brussels this is 25.5%, in Wallonia 4.0%, in Flanders 3.9%.]
  12. ^ a b c Michèle Tribalat, Population d'origine étrangère en Belgique en 2020 Archived 2 May 2021 at the Wayback Machine, 8 February 2021